It was a historic day in Washington state as Democratic members of the Washington state House elected Rep. Laurie Jinkins as the new House Speaker, making her the first LGBTQ person and first woman to hold the position in Washington state.
Jinkins will become one of three openly LGBTQ people currently serving as the leader of a state legislative chamber, joining California President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek. Jinkins will be the sixth openly LGBTQ state House speaker in U.S. history when she takes on the position in January of next year.
“To have an openly LGBTQ woman in one of the most powerful roles in government can be transformative for the state of Washington,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “Speaker Jinkins will bring her unique perspective to the job: determining priorities, shaping legislation, and influencing how her caucus votes on equality and other key issues. All three states on the Pacific coast now have LGBTQ people leading one chamber of their state legislature, continuing the trend of more LGBTQ people securing key legislative leadership positions.”
“I first ran for public office because I wanted to make sure all families have the same opportunities for success. Washington continues to rank among the top states to live, work, and do business in large part due to the forward-thinking policies adopted by the Legislature over the last 20 years,” Jinkins said in a statement. “We made sure all kids have access to health care regardless of family income. We have some of the best colleges and universities in the nation. And we support families by embracing marriage equality, paid family leave, equal pay, and many other polices. I want every family to have the same opportunities my family has had, and that vision will be the guiding force during my service as speaker.”
Jinkins added, “I thank my colleagues for their confidence. This will be the most challenging job I’ll ever have but I am humbled and buoyed by the support of members of this caucus. For 20 years, we’ve worked together to improve quality of life on behalf of the people of Washington and House Democrats are committed to continuing that work for communities and families all across the state.”
Jinkins has championed several legislative proposals that were signed into law in recent years, including bills to reduce medical debt bankruptcies, expand access to life-saving drugs to chronically ill patients, and a first-in-the-nation Long-Term Care Trust Act. Jinkins has devoted much of her legislative career to improving Washington’s behavioral health system.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Rep. Jinkins as our new speaker-designate,” said seatmate Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma). “Laurie has been a fantastic mentor to me throughout my time in the Legislature. She has spent much of her professional and legislative career in public health, dedicated to improving the lives of others. She’s deeply committed to making her community a better place to live and work. Laurie will bring that same passion to her role as speaker as she leads our caucus, the House, and the Washington state.”
Jinkins began her career protecting Washington’s children from abuse and neglect and has spent the last 20 years advancing public health. Before her election, Jinkins’ community involvement focused on higher education, improving city government, advancing Washington’s anti-discrimination laws and serving Tacoma’s non-profit sector.
Jinkins earned her Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law (then the University of Puget Sound School Of Law). Click here for her full bio.
Jinkins, who began her first term as a state representative in 2011, is currently the chair of the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee, and sits on the House Appropriations and Health Care & Wellness Committees.
She joins five other openly LGBTQ people who have served as speakers of their state House: John Perez in California (2010 – 2014), Gordon Fox in Rhode Island (2010 – 2014), Mark Ferrandino in Colorado (2012 – 2014), Kotek in Oregon (2013 – present) and Atkins in California (2014 – 2016).
California President Pro Tem Atkins remains the only openly LGBTQ person to lead a state Senate. There are at least 22 openly LGBTQ people currently serving in leadership roles in state legislatures – from speakers to majority and minority leaders to caucus whips.
Jinkins will immediately receive the title of “speaker-designate” and assume several House leadership responsibilities associated with the role.
According to the Washington state constitution, acting Speaker John Lovick (D-Mill Creek) will continue serving as acting speaker until the start of the next legislative session, which convenes on January 13, 2020.
“It’s been a great honor and privilege serving as acting speaker during this transition,” said Lovick. “I look forward to continuing in this role and working collaboratively with speaker-designate Jinkins until January when her confirmation becomes official.”
Core responsibilities of the speaker include serving as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, chair of Executive Rules (House administrative committee), and chair of the House Rules committee. The speaker appoints other elected members to standing and statutory committees, signs all bills in open session, and oversees all employees of the House.
Rep. Laurie Jinkins made history today as not only the first woman Speaker of the House here in WA, but also as the first open lesbian elected to the position! #waleghttps://t.co/kbQ4vtJImj pic.twitter.com/1qo4sH3GRG
— WA House Democrats (@WAHouseDems) July 31, 2019
— The Seattle Lesbian (@TheSeaLesbian) November 3, 2010
Congratulations to Laurie Jinkins on being selected by her House Democratic colleagues to serve as the next Speaker of the House!
We’re looking forward to partnering with Speaker-designate Jinkins and the House Dems as we continue our work putting people first. #waleg
— Washington Senate Democratic Campaign (@SenateDemocrats) July 31, 2019
— Rachel La Corte (@RachelAPOly) July 31, 2019
Congratulations to Rep. Laurie Jinkins—the first-ever woman elected to serve as speaker of the WA state House of Representatives! Looking forward to continuing to serve our great state together.https://t.co/UOlmVYgF4i
— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) July 31, 2019
BIG NEWS: Today the Washington House of Representatives elected Rep. Laurie Jinkins as the Speaker of the House! @lauriejinkins2 is the first lesbian and first woman to hold the Speaker’s position. #OutPowerhttps://t.co/bXZfvhQvYW
— Victory Institute (@VictoryInst) July 31, 2019
A woman’s place is in the House. For the first time in our state’s history, Washington has elected a woman as House Speaker! Congratulations @lauriejinkins2! #TheFutureIsFemale 🎉 https://t.co/WcEB5pxg1a
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) July 31, 2019
— Support Our Schools (@SupportWASchool) July 31, 2019
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SCOTUS: No Question About Citizenship on the 2020 US Census
Trump just lost – and he lost BIG. The Supreme Court of the United States has blocked a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census. While there is potentially still time to resubmit for inclusion, experts predict it’s not enough.
The 5-4 decision included the four liberal justices, joined by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts.
Kid Writes Lesbian Neighbors A Note: You’ve ‘Given Me the Courage to Come Out’
File this one under: why representation matters.
Sal Stow and her partner Meghan Stabler of Round Rock, Texas, had no idea that flying a Pride flag outside of their home would lead to a social media blitz, appearances on Good Morning America, entries in People Magazine, or anything short of just a normal day in June. However, what actually happened is one for the record books.
And it all began because of a Pride flag and a letter under a rock on the front step.
“Hello. You don’t know me,” the letter begins. “We’re moving away today, but I wanted to thank you. Seeing a Pride flag waving so proudly outside your house everyday has given me the courage to come out to my family and be more comfortable with who I am.”
“I just went out to collect 2 packages from the doorstep (at my partner Meghan’s house, that I call home) only to find this note under a rock on the mat,” Stow wrote on Facebook. “This is why visibility is SO important. You never know who needs the support and to know it’s ok. I hope this person is ok, their family is being supportive and they find a community to connect with that can help them through this brave process.”
Stow continued, “Williamson County is extremely conservative and in fact the County Commissioners voted 4-0 to not allow the pride flag to be flown on the Round Rock county court buildings. I am proud of who I am and the person I love. I will continue to be visible in whatever way I can #lgbtq+ #pridevisibility #translivesmatter #trans #hrc #stonewall50 #equality”
LGBTQ Visibility Matters: Read a beautiful note found on my doorstep. I proudly fly 2 rainbow flags at my home. You never know who needs the support, who is hiding and needs a lift up. #PrideMonth2019 #translivesmatter #stonewall50 #equality https://t.co/AjpCCobJYq pic.twitter.com/rh2qT3eFys
— Meghan Stabler (@MeghanStabler) June 19, 2019
The drawing featured a person holding transgender and pansexual pride flags.
“Visibility has never been as important as it is today. While we have made strides for equality over the past decades, we know we have a long way to go,” Stabler told New Civil Rights Movement. “In many states, in many counties, in many towns, being out and proud is still a challenge. Fear and exclusion or worse – hate and anger – are still an everyday lived experience for some members of the LGBTQ community.”
Stabler issued a call to continue combating anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
“If simply flying a pride flag 365 days of the year brings hope to someone, then I encourage everyone, including allies, to do so,” she said.
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is not taking President Trump’s mishandling of the U.S. government lying down. The 78-year-old pint-sized powerhouse mocked Trump’s version of his ill-slated wall along the U.S. southern border as a “beaded curtain.”
“First of all, the fact … that he says, ‘We’re going to build a wall with cement, and Mexico’s going to pay for it,’ while he’s already backed off of the cement – now he’s down to, I think, a beaded curtain or something, I’m not sure where he is,” Pelosi told USA Today.
The comment came following Trump’s tweet that “the Democrats, are saying loud and clear that they do not want to build a Concrete Wall – but we are not building a Concrete Wall, we are building artistically designed steel slats, so that you can easily see through it.”
Trump referred to the structure as a “beautiful” border wall.
The Democrats, are saying loud and clear that they do not want to build a Concrete Wall – but we are not building a Concrete Wall, we are building artistically designed steel slats, so that you can easily see through it….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
Pelosi is having none of it. She’s taking aim in every direction at the dictatorship in waiting.
.@realDonaldTrump’s immoral, ineffective and expensive wall doesn’t make us safe, or honor our oath to protect & defend our neighbors & communities. And no matter much how he thinks a #TrumpShutdown will help him politically, it poses a real threat to American families.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 21, 2018
.@realDonaldTrump has the Senate, the White House, and the House (for the moment) under Republican control. He has the power to keep government open – but instead, he says he’s going to shut down the government. #TrumpShutdown pic.twitter.com/Pdbo4rH0sG
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 11, 2018
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 24, 2018
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 22, 2018
The tragic death of an innocent child on Christmas Day breaks the hearts of all. Democrats call on Homeland Security’s Inspector General to immediately open an investigation into Felipe Alzono-Gomez’s death. https://t.co/on2E63hPhX pic.twitter.com/pvNCtMJt9g
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 26, 2018
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 24, 2018
Image of Nancy Pelosi by Wikimedia Commons.
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